Farmers lament local rice repackaging, seek intervention to boost productivity

Date:

July 8, 2024.

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Azonuchechi Chukwu.

The All Farmers Association (AFAN) and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) have warned members to desist from repackaging of local rice in foreign bags for enhanced profit.

They lamented that the development contributed to the persistent price hike and perceived unavailability of local rice in the country.

They also called for concerted efforts to boost local production.

The leaders of the associations made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency on Sunday in Lagos.

Repackaging of rice is a situation where rice producers ‘rebag’ home-grown rice into foreign rice bags for increased profits.

The Deputy Chairman, AFAN Lagos State Chapter, Mr Shakin Agbayewa, called on local rice producers to ensure honesty in all their dealings in the sector.

“We have a major problem in locally grown rice, we call it ‘internal smuggling’. A situation where local rice cultivators ‘rebag’ home-grown rice in foreign bags, to sell at a higher price.

“We lack honesty among local rice producers because of the rebagging of rice issue.

“In Nigeria today, we consume close to 6.5 to seven million metric tonnes of rice on a yearly basis.

“Unfortunately, our local production is about 57 per cent, thanks to the closure of the border by the past administration. We still have a shortfall of about 43 per cent.

“If we are honest, we can adequately meet the demands for local rice in the country.

“If all parameters are equal, local rice farmers will be able to meet up the local demands for home-grown rice,” Agbayewa said.

On his part, the Lagos State RIFAN Chairman , Mr Raphael Hunsa, called for concerted efforts to boost local rice production.

“Boosting of rice production in Nigeria will be possible when all hands are on deck. We need to be committed, proactive and focused to increase local rice cultivation.

“We need more people involved in rice cultivation, it is not a one-man business. We need to encourage more people especially youths to be engaged in rice cultivation.

“Farming and rice cultivation has no expiry or retirement date. If we do this, we can meet up demand for locally grown rice.

“Presently, local rice is not available to meet the growing demands. The Lagos State rice mill at Imota, which can produce 33,000 metric tonnes of rice per hour, is set up for the benefits of Lagos residents.

“However, as we speak, the mill does not have enough rice paddy to kick off operations,” Hunsa said.

He also noted that the “Lagos State Government most times goes to Kebbi, Kaduna and other northern states to seek paddy for rice mill.

“Whereas the rice farmers in Lagos State need support to cultivate rice without dependence on outside state sources, we need increased support to also attract more rice farmers into the sector and to encourage existing farmers.

“If this is done, in Lagos alone, we can supply sufficient paddy to meet the demands of the Imota mill .

“In Lagos State alone, we have more than 1,000 rice farmers, if the land is well utilised and government focuses its attention on the farmers with adequate monitoring, we will be able to meet the demands for locally grown rice,” Hunsa said.

Also speaking, Mr Percy Ibrahim, a rice farmer in Plateau state, urged the government to support more rice farmers to boost local production.

“We need all-round government support to boost local rice production.

“Also, more young rice farmers should be encouraged to come into the system. They must be adequately trained to get the desired results from cultivation.

“Training for rice cultivation is paramount for increased productivity output,” Ibrahim said.

Presently, 50kg of foreign rice, long grain sells at N76,000 per bag, while short grain depending on the quality sells for between N75,000 and N80,000.

According to NAN, a bag of 50kg foreign rice was sold for between N45,000 and N60,000 as of November/December 2023.

On the other hand, locally grown rice sells for N76,000 per 50kg bag, depending on the quality, against N50,000 last December.(www.naija247news.com).

Chukwu Azochukwu, The Naija247news
Chukwu Azochukwu, The Naija247newshttps://gravatar.com/azonuchechivchukwu
Azonuchechi Chukwu - Business Journalist at Naija247news.com Azonuchechi Chukwu is a seasoned business journalist contributing to the insightful coverage of economic and financial news at Naija247news.com. With a passion for unraveling the complexities of the business world, Azonuchechi brings a wealth of expertise and dedication to his role. As a Business Journalist, Azonuchechi specializes in providing comprehensive analyses of market trends, corporate developments, and economic indicators. His in-depth reports offer Naija247news.com readers a nuanced understanding of the forces shaping the Nigerian and global business landscapes. Azonuchechi Chukwu's commitment to journalistic excellence is evident in his ability to translate complex financial information into accessible and engaging narratives. Whether exploring stock market fluctuations, corporate strategies, or economic policies, he strives to deliver content that empowers readers with valuable insights. With an educational background in business and a keen interest in the intersection of finance and technology, Azonuchechi stays at the forefront of industry dynamics. His coverage extends beyond traditional financial reporting, encompassing the dynamic realms of fintech, entrepreneurship, and sustainable business practices. Azonuchechi Chukwu's work goes beyond the surface, aiming to foster financial literacy and awareness among Naija247news.com's audience. By demystifying economic complexities and shedding light on emerging opportunities, he plays a pivotal role in keeping readers well-informed in the fast-paced world of business. As Naija247news.com's Business Journalist, Azonuchechi Chukwu continues to make meaningful contributions to the platform's mission of delivering timely, accurate, and relevant business news to its diverse audience. His dedication to journalistic integrity and his ability to navigate the intricacies of the business realm make him an invaluable asset to the Naija247news.com team.

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